This was a guy in one of their [Men’s Wearhouse] stores in the Northwest who was an exceptional salesperson. But the company’s managers believe in the concept of team selling — they believe in this idea of human development that you always succeed when your colleagues around you succeed, and that you ought to participate in all this training. And this guy said, “I’m not going to do any of this stuff.”


The company’s big measures are the number of transactions and the dollars of sales per transaction. This guy was way above on the number of transactions but not doing very well on dollars per transaction. What that meant was that people would come in the store and he would steal them. Finally, they said to this guy, “We want you to get with the program,” and he wouldn’t.


So they fired him — and guess what? Sales in the store went up 30 percent. His replacement, of course, did not sell as much as he did. But everybody else in the store sold more. In other words, he was bringing everybody else down. And you see this in other organizations where there is one star.


Jeffrey Pfeffer
Strategy & Business